Pollinator Friendly Plants

black and white moth with orange head feeding on sage

Hera Buckmoth



Native plants have evolved over time to benefit from the particular insects available in their habitat and native insects have likewise adapted to utilize the plants around them.  Plant adaptations to insect pollination systems vary from visual elements including color, structure, and patterns to varieties of smells and tastes.


While many plants are hosts to a variety of insects, some native plants are hosts to single insect species without which the plant cannot reproduce.  Likewise insects seek out the specific host plants they count on for food, shelter and reproduction and when the populations of these plants decrease, the insect populations decline. Declines in insect populations are directly related to poor pollination in plant crops.

Birds, mammals and reptiles

mountain bluebird on fence post

Mountain Bluebird

Birds, mammals and reptiles have also evolved to utilize the plants and insects in their ecosystems.  Without these, populations often decline.

Things to consider when providing plants for pollinators:

  • provide plant diversity for multiple species of pollinators
  • use plants that bloom at various times to provide food all season long
  • place plants close to food and water sources so pollinators feel safe
  • have clean water available as well as plants (ie birdbaths and shallow saucers with gravel and water for insects)
single calliope hummingbird in mid-air

Calliope hummingbird






(click for more information on each species)

arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)
blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) – birds, insects
big sage (Artemisia tridentata v. tridentata) – insects
blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata) – butterflies
common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – bees, insects
creeping Oregon grape (Mahonia repens) – birds, insects
fern bush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium) – insects
firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) – hummingbirds
fuzzy-tongue penstemon (Penstemon eriantherus) – hummingbirds
golden currant (Ribes aureum) – birds
hairy golden aster (Heterotheca villosa) – insects
heart-leaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia) – insects
Lyall’s penstemon (Penstemon lyallii) – hummingbirds
mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii) – insects
mountain big sage (Artemisia tridentata v. vaseyana) – insects
nettleleaf horsemint (Agastache urticifolia) – insects, hummingbirds
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) – butterflies
pasqueflower (Anemone patens) – insects
pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
rosy pussytoes (Antennaria rosea)
rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) – insects
scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) – hummingbirds
serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) 
showy fleabane (Erigeron speciosus) – insects
silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea) – insects
sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) – insects
white evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) – night moths
wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) – birds
wild geranium (Geranium viscosissimum) – insects
yellow evening primrose (Oenothera flava) – night moths